The Maplewood Homes Community, a development of The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB), has received this year’s Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits “Development of Distinction” award for outstanding achievement in the Renewable Energy category.  The project was designed and constructed by HelioPower, an integrated energy solutions company based in California.

The Developments of Distinction Awards were established as an annual event to recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the development of tax credit projects using the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), historic tax credit (HTC), renewable energy tax credit (RETC), Section 1602 Exchange Program grant funds and/or tax credit projects using U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program financing.

Past winners in the category include the Coastal Community Action Program of Aberdeen, Washington, and its Coastal Energy Project, a 6 megawatt wind development near the Washington coastline in Grayland, Washington.  Honorable mention in 2010 went to Make It Right – SOLAR, a subsidiary of the Make It Right Foundation, founded by actor Brad Pitt, which serves as a renewable energy developer focused on affordable housing. MIR-Solar has completed more than 40 residential solar panel installations in New Orleans’ historic Lower 9th Ward.

Maplewood Homes, an almost 70 year old affordable housing site with 296 units in the city of San Bernardino, California, is being honored for

In 2010, the HACSB received a $1.84 million grant from Southern California Edison’s Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Track 2 program – the largest program grant awarded. The Housing Authority worked with HelioPower to design, develop, engineer, and construct a 302 kilowatt solar photovoltaic facility, a system that is among the largest and most innovative roof mounted solar projects in San Bernardino. The project consisted of 1,288 solar panels atop 100 units. 85% of its production will benefit residents directly and 15% will offset common area energy load, with the savings directed to help fund on-site employment. The solar facility will offset over 1500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per unit annually, reducing resident’s energy bills on average by 30% or $166/unit/year.
HACSB’s use of the U.S. renewable energy 1603 tax credit. The Housing Authority’s collaborated with HelioPower to apply the credit and California Solar Initiative grant money to reduce the community’s energy costs, create jobs, educate tenants, and foster an environmentally green community.

HACSB is monetizing the savings from the green energy generated on the common area meters and channeling those funds into the green job

“This project is the first of many that the Housing Authority is pursuing to show commitment to implementing green initiatives to increase sustainability and save energy, and provide on-going employment opportunities for its residents in the growing green-building industry,” states Susan Benner, HACSB’s President/CEO.
training programs now underway. HelioPower trained and hired two residents and one community member giving them the opportunity to learn a new trade and gain solar industry expertise. HelioPower also conducted workshops for residents of Maplewood Homes about the benefits of solar and energy efficiency, how it works, what it means for them, and other tips on reducing wasteful energy and water consumption.

The renewable energy honorable mention 2011 winner was the BioFuels Energy LLC project, which took a wasted, environmentally damaging resource, in this case methane gas being flared at the City of San Diego Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Facility, and built a system to convert it to renewable energy.

“Each year we gather to honor the best and the brightest in the tax credit industry, and each year I’m amazed at the caliber of so many deserving projects; this year’s winners truly are members of an elite group,” said Michael J. Novogradac, managing partner of Novogradac & Company LLP. “It is heartening that there are so many deserving housing, historic and renewable energy tax credit developments being built to serve residents in need and, more broadly, serve communities in which they are located. I congratulate this year’s winners and invite all with a housing, historic and renewable energy development to enter next year.”

Full descriptions of the 13 projects winning Developments of Distinction Awards are available at  A video presentation of the renewable energy winners is available at